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Riverside at the Top in Technology Again -- Awards for City Website & New Online Hiring Tool

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RIVERSIDE – Riverside proves once again why it was recently named the Most Intelligent City in the World!  On Thursday, e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government announced the 2012 winners of its annual Best of Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards.

For 17 years, the Best of the Web program has recognized outstanding government portals and websites based on innovation, functionality and efficiency.

Mayor Ron Loveridge said, “We are so proud that Riverside continues to be a leader in digital technology and innovation and we look forward to advancing government in the many exciting areas of technology.”  Riverside ranked 4th this year for its website and is the only California city to be recognized. Plus, Riverside’s Human Resources (HR) Department was recognized for a New Employee Web-based On-Boarding Solution that allows employees to complete paperwork in the comfort of their own home and saves the City thousands of dollars per year on printing and postage costs.  The program increases the efficiency of the hiring process and reduces staff processing time.

Human Resources Director Rhonda Strout is already seeing positive results and said, “As a result of implementing our on-boarding solution, we’ve been able to reduce 30% of staff time printing, collating, reviewing, and auditing new hire documents and anticipate saving over $8,000 annually on printing and postage costs alone.”

The Digital Government Achievement Awards highlight outstanding agency and department websites and applications.  Fifty-six awards in eight categories were given this year.

“Digital technology has fundamentally changed the way people interact with their government…,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.  “We’re excited about the opportunities governments are creating to make new things possible and to do old things faster and more efficiently.”  The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.  The Center is a division of e.Republic, a national publishing, event, and research company focused on smart media for public sector innovation.

Republicans Nominate Mitt Romney

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“Turn California Red”: Fontana Mayor Warren, California delegation energized

By Chris Levister

Amid an atmosphere of nonstop Obama bashing, Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney swept to the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday night, praised by his wife Ann from the Tampa national convention stage as the “man America needs”. “This man will not fail. This man will not let us down,” Mrs. Romney said in a prime-time speech.

With the roll call vote complete, delegates from Inland Southern California and around the country celebrated their candidate with a night of cheers, music and speeches lying out the party’s case against President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy.

Republicans emphatically approved a toughly worded party platform that would ban all abortions and gay marriages, reshape Medicare into a voucher-like program and cut taxes to energize the economy and create jobs. The conservative platform warns that while the American Dream has long been of equal opportunity for everyone, “Today that American Dream is at risk.” It pledges that the GOP will “begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes and regulates.”

Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren was among those who signed the nominating papers for Mitt Romney and VP running-mate Paul Ryan. Independently elected Warren is mayor of the largest city in the U.S. headed by an African American Republican. “America is on the wrong track. This is the first step in turning our country around,” Warren said moments after Romney collected the last of 1,144 delegate votes needed to clinch the nomination. “Everyone is going to vote on the economy — and they’re going to vote for Mitt Romney.”

The California delegation did not make it in time for the opening of the Republican National Convention. The buses designated to take the delegates from their hotel in St. Pete Beach to the forum in Tampa Bay were delayed by an hour. The delay is being blamed on security checks and traffic closures. Warren insisted the bus delay combined with Monday’s scheduled opening day delay caused by Hurricane Isaac failed to dampened spirits. “Today, every speaker is telling Americans we can still have opportunity. Our GOP ‘Great Opportunity Party’ is the party to get America back to work,” Warren said on an online post from the convention. The evening was capped with a raucous keynote speech from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said change in the White House is needed to alleviate the “doubt and fear” that has crept into “every corner of our country.” “Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear,” he said. “Tonight, we stand up for Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States.” Earlier, at the delegation's beachfront hotel, the combative Christie ripped into California Gov. Jerry Brown, calling him an "old retread" and suggesting - to the delight of Warren and other California Republicans - that his own election in a Democratic state is proof Republicans in California could rebound. “I cannot believe you people elected Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old.” Christie overcame a Democratic voter registration advantage in New Jersey to win election in 2009.

Christie has enacted billions of dollars in spending cuts to balance that state's budget, and his bombastic style and outspoken criticism of public employee unions and teachers, among other groups, has made him popular among conservatives nationwide. “The message I want to deliver to California this morning is: There is hope," Christie said. “Don't give up on the fact that California can be governed. You've seen it governed before, and you've seen it governed effectively ... California once did have great governors, like Gov. Pete Wilson, who knew how to govern the state.” “Governor Christie gave me so much hope,” said Warren. “I’ve been texting my kids and telling them, ‘Don’t give up on California. We have to keep our hopes high that when he (Romney) becomes President, he steps in and helps California regain its place in this nation as one of the economic forces in the world. I refuse to accept their (Democrats) version that California cannot be governed and that our problems are too big.” The Republican gathering, followed by next week's Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, comes as opinion polls show the presidential race about even, with each candidate possessing distinct and important advantages: Mr. Obama is the more likable or empathetic leader; Mr. Romney is a former businessman more highly regarded as the candidate who can fix the economy.

Polls have shown that the election will probably be decided by a razor-thin margin, with voters casting ballots primarily on their views of which candidate can create more jobs and boost the slow US economic recovery.

Democrats were also on the ground in Tampa to fight the Republican message. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Republican efforts to use Latino speakers at the convention to win over Hispanic voters won't work. “You can't just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people are going to vote for your party or your candidate,” he said. “Window dressing doesn't do much for a candidate. It's your policies, your platform.”

Villaraigosa called the platform's stances on abortion and immigration “draconian” and “extreme” and blamed Romney. "What you have seen from him is that he does one thing, he says another,” Villaraigosa said. “He has taken one position after another, time and again you know, and you can't have it both ways.”

In the run up to the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Obama and his party will intensify attacks on Romney's flip flops on abortion, gun control, gay marriage and social welfare, and target his business experience, claiming that the private equity firm he once headed, Bain Capital, made a fortune for investors while bankrupting some companies and laying off workers.

They Cease To Amaze Me With Their Actions

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Some members of San Bernardino continue to amaze me with their logic and actions when it comes to voting on issues in the best interest of the city. At the last city council meeting, agenda item 9.a was a vote to receive about $900,000 from the federal government to acquire, rehabilitate and resell property which had been abandoned, condemned or foreclosed on in the city, otherwise know as blight.

The presentation had been made and recommended for approval by the staff and determined to be in the best interest of the city for some of these reasons; removable of property that is a health hazard and eyesore to its neighbors decreasing current property value; contracting with local contractors to demolish and rehabilitate the property while providing jobs to local citizens; reselling the property as a livable single living housing unit to local citizens as home owners who now rent somewhere in the city. Some on the council described it as getting a piece of the American dream, home ownership.

Those who opposed the agenda opposed it on the ground of those low-income people as though low-income people are not human or something is wrong with them based on their financial status. After some discussion the question was called for and the agenda item failed. Then may0r Morris, commented, for the life of me I do not understand why you would not want to give some family the opportunity to own a home in the city and he gave an example of one Hispanic family positive impact on this city after receiving a house from “sweat equate” of Habitat For Humanity Program.

Council member Virginia Marques offered another comment with disappointment in her voice of what just happened to her by her colleagues. “I was raised on the west side of town in the neighborhood where this project was supposed to take place in my ward. These are good people who want the opportunity to owned their on home just like every American citizen, too paraphrase her statement. I agree with her and at that moment one of the council members that voted against the motion changed his vote to a yes for approval of the project.

Why does these council member amaze me by voting against this project is earlier one of them spoke about the need to create jobs in the city to help increase tax revenue. We should make sure all bid be awarded to local vendors when possible, said Council member McCammack during the meeting. Other members have echoed similar statement from the dais in the past. I wholeheartly agree with that position and want the council to start acting as such on all decision.

If they believed what they are saying, ponder this. the public safety employees receive 75% of the city’s budget but just under 90% of them reside in the city to spend any of that money. Look at it this way for every dollar that we give the city 75 cents gets in a car after each shift, bought in another city, goes to a home in another city, buys grocery in another city, pay utilities in another city, buys clothes in another city, goes to the movies in another, walks the dog in another city, send children to school in another city, pays property tax in another city with out turning over one time in San Bernardino all at the expense of these low income people of San Bernardino that the council want to deny home ownership. Only 44% of the people living in San Bernardino own their home and 42% rent.

These low income family households median earning are less than $40,000 a year with 40% at and below the poverty level pay these public employees over $100,000 dollars a year to spend in other cities with council approval. Yet these same council members wanted to deny these low income citizens the opportunity to have a slice of the American dream of owning an affordable home, while watching their hard earned money get into a car at the end of each shift and leave town. According to one report this equates to $40 million being transferred out of town each and every year. One can only imagine what that could do for a city trying to stave off bankruptcy.

The public safety employees should be angry with those council members for voting against the program because they will get 75 cent of every dollar coming into the city under the current situation.

So the council should take a look at every dime that comes into the city and see where it can be turned over into the hands of some one else in the city before it crawls into some ones car and leave town without benefiting the citizens of the city.

Foster Resigns as President of The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino

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Riverside - The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino recently announced that Daniel Foster has resigned as President/CEO, and the Board has named Celia Cudiamat, previously VP of Grant Programs, Donor Services & Administration, as the foundation’s Interim President/CEO.

“Daniel has been an exceptional CEO and leader of The Community Foundation. During his tenure he has forged important initiatives and relationships with many nonprofits, business leaders and public officials  working towards our collective goals of improving the quality of life issues throughout our two county region,” said Grover Trask, Chair of the Board of Directors.

“Daniel has made countless contributions to The Community Foundation’s success and visibility, and has nearly doubled our professional and talented staff. During his four year tenure, we had record breaking fundraising and asset growth during difficult economic times. We are truly sad to see him go but know he is doing the right thing.”

Foster will be leaving The Community Foundation on September 18 and will be starting as Executive Director of Oceanside Museum of Art on October 1.

“My last four years with TCF have been some of the best years of my professional life, and I will certainly miss working with the talented and dedicated staff, Board, supporters, friends and partners associated with the Foundation,” says Foster. “I am very proud of the tremendous growth, accomplishments, and prominence that the foundation has achieved during the years of the Great Recession.”

Foster states, “Even though my life and career are changing directions, my commitment to the arts community and so many good people in the Inland Empire will passionately continue.”

Foster submitted his resignation to the Board of Directors last week and the Board selected eight year TCF executive staff member, Celia Cudiamat, as Interim President/CEO, while they conduct their nationwide search for a new President/CEO.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead the foundation during this time of transition and change,” said Cudiamat. “While Daniel will be missed, we want to wish him all the best as he enters a new stage in his life and career.

“His vision helped bring the foundation to the threshold of a new era,” Cudiamat continues. “I am confident in our staff and board as we steadily move forward at this juncture of growth and opportunity.”

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation created by and for the residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Established in 1941, The Community Foundation has $58 million in assets and provides college scholarships and grants to nonprofit organizations across the two-county area. It serves as a regional convener to address issues regarding their Community Initiatives, which include Arts & Culture, Capacity Building, Environmental, Youth Philanthropy, and Education.

Pechanga Orders Up Its First Ever Margarita and Tequila Festival

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100 types of Tequila will be available to sip or mix with margaritas and delicious Mexican tastes

Temecula – As a first in the region, Pechanga will hold a Margarita and Tequila Festival  on Mexican Independence Day, September 15,  from 1pm to 4pm in the Grand Ballroom. High-end tequila producers will make up the more than 100 different types of Tequila to be served, including HYPERLINK "http://www.azuniatequila.com/" \t "_blank" Azunia, HYPERLINK "http://www.claseazul.com/" \t "_blank" Clase Azul , HYPERLINK "http://www.tresagaves.com/" \t "_blank" Tres Agaves, HYPERLINK "http://www.partidatequila.com/" \t "_blank" Partida, HYPERLINK "http://www.tanteotequila.com/" \t "_blank" Tanteo, HYPERLINK "http://patrontequila.com/" \t "_blank" Patron and HYPERLINK "http://tequilaavion.com/" \t "_blank" Tequila Avion, which was featured very prominently in the HBO series “Entourage” .

“We are always looking to create unique events that people do not normally get a chance to attend,” said Pechanga VP of Food & Beverage Dennis Khanh. “I’m sure this will be the first opportunity a lot of the guests will have to taste many of these finer brands of Tequila. It will be both fun and educational to learn about Mexico’s national liquor.” For those used to shooting their tequila with lime and salt, a surprise may be in order as good Tequila is typically sipped straight, since higher-quality 100% agave tequilas do not cause alcohol burn, and salt and lime will remove much of their flavor. Drinking in this manner allows the taster to perceive the subtle flavors and fragrances that mark the finer brands. Nevertheless, tequila is widely known for the flavorful mixes it helps create and distillers will be making an incredible array of margaritas and other concoctions.

Other confirmed Tequila vendors include: HYPERLINK "http://www.tequilaespolon.com/" \t "_blank" Espolon; HYPERLINK "http://us.tequila1921.com/" \t "_blank" 1921 Tequila; HYPERLINK "http://www.hotelcaliforniatequilausa.com/" \t "_blank" Hotel California; HYPERLINK "http://www.elagaveartesanal.com/en/" \t "_blank" El Agave Artesanal; Sauza; and HYPERLINK "http://www.asombrosotequila.com/" \t "_blank" Asombroso. Tequila is distilled, many times, to compliment the spicy Mexican fare of the country. Pechanga’s  award-winning chefs will be manning eight food stations spread throughout the event, and whipping up rellanos, al pastor, tacos, tapas, burritos, ensalada, and, of course, postres to quench the sweet tooth.

Guests can also show off their moves on the dance floor to the Latin old school jams of HYPERLINK "http://www.suavetheband.com/" \t "_blank" Suavé, and Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley will once again host a silent auction to raise funds to provide low income families a chance at home ownership. At the last Pechanga Microbrew Festival in July, Habitat raised more than $12,000. Pechanga is recommending guests have either a designated driver or make a hotel reservation. Availability can be checked at HYPERLINK "http://www.pechanga.com/" \t "_blank" pechanga.com or by calling (888) 732-4264.

Guests must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $45 and include drink and food tastings, as well as a commemorative shot glass. A special ‘designated driver’ ticket is available for $22, and does not include any alcohol tasting.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Pechanga Box Office directly or by calling (877) 711-2946 from noon to 8pm daily, or anytime online at HYPERLINK "http://www.pechanga.com/" \t "_blank" pechanga.com.

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BVN National News Wire